The National Secretary holds a directory of all the registered teams in the UK.
...to Ring With
If you are thinking about joining a team, you need to be aware that there are many differences in ringing styles, type of music used etc. Some will use the English 'off-table' style while others will ring 'in hand'; many will ring from staff notation (so you may have to be able to read music) while others play from numeric or alpha notation - or perhaps from a single central score.
Even if you find a team whose style and music suit you, it may be that they are part of a school, church, U3A, WI or similar organisation and have restrictions on membership. But don't despair, you can try several teams and perhaps even start your own group.
...to Ring at a Wedding
Handbells are popular at weddings, particularly if it is a church ceremony and there are no tower bells. A handbell team may be able to provide the sound of bells pealing as the bride and groom come out of the church.
Alternatively a group may play during the signing of the register, or for the entrance or exit of the bridal party.
Fees and expenses are normally negotiated with the team concerned.
Please make arrangements well in advance - teams can get very booked up.
...Play at Your Event
Handbell ringers may perform at concerts, for corporate events, in church, for demonstrations and workshops, at fetes and fairs, in shopping centres - to name but a few.
Things to consider:
- Handbells are a more effective instrument INDOORS than out.
- The SPACE you have available for a group to perform. A soloist might need just six feet of space for a table on which to play; small/medium groups of six to ten ringers may require up to twelve to twenty-four feet; a large group of sixteen or more players may need thirty-six feet of table space, often not in a straight line.
- PARKING/UNLOADING/LOADING - is there reasonably easy access for ringers and all their equipment?
- PUBLIC LIABILITY INSURANCE - will your insurance cover visitors, or does the team need its own?
- FEES/EXPENSES - usually negotiable with the team.
- Try to book WELL IN ADVANCE to avoid disappointment.
REMEMBER - handbells are not just for Christmas! - teams perform all year round and seasonal entertainments often book up months in advance.
...For the Media
When booking a handbell team to appear on radio or television, please remember that many ringers are amateur musicians and are not available for performances during the day due to work commitments.
It is appreciated that the media often responds to events and therefore timelines are short; however it can be difficult to engage a group of ringers at very short notice, although every effort will be made.
If a large group is required, the more notice the better, and an evening or weekend performance time is more likely to be successful.
Any fees or expenses are negotiable with the team.